We are often asked what products we recommend. Below we have provided links to our favorite products. These are items we feel are essential for the health of our dogs or for the ease of grooming.
We feed all our dogs and our puppies NuVet Plus all-natural human grade vitamins in the powder form for small dogs and puppies. Some adult dogs like the 'treat' variety, but the treat is a little firm and some dogs don't like it and everyone seems to like the powder. We have found our dogs have lovely coats, are full of energy, and are extremely healthy. NuVet Plus can help heal and protect against the ravages of free radicals that attack your pet throughout its life. It is fully safe and affordable! In addition, if your dog suffers any ailments it can also be helpful for:
* Skin and Coat Problems
* Scratching, Itching, Biting
* Hot Spots
* Arthritis and Joint Problems
* Premature Aging
* Low Energy Levels
* Diabetes and Liver Problems
* Cataracts and Tumors
* Digestive Problems
* Heart Disease
These vitamins are made in the USA of US human grade, all natural ingredients, which makes me feel better using them. Other vitamins I don't know if the ingredients came from China or are of usable form to benefit health.
**Saving JUST ONE major trip to the vet could pay more than a lifetime supply of NuVet Plus® I have heard personal testimonies of dogs who have had major positive changes in their health by using NuVet vitamins. We personally use them as a supplement and preventative.
We recommend starting these slowly, giving only 1/4 dose for the first 6 months, then 1/2 dose until a year old, then you can move up to a full dose.
To order, click on the logo to the left or the link above. Use order code 54281. NuVet Plus is not available through stores. You can also call 1-800-474-7044 ID Code 54281.
Egg Yolk - one tsp powdered egg yolk or 1/2 boiled egg yolk per day. Powdered egg yolk can also be given at one teaspoon per day. This will make a one pound bag last about three months. This stores easily (about a one year shelf life if stored in a dry dark cupboard) and is easy to give while traveling. You can also add a bit of water and microwave to make scrambled egg yolk. This will help their bones, eyes and coat. Consider which method best works for your lifestyle and be prepared before your puppy comes home.
Lixit Dog Water Bottles - these are the best drip free water bottles we have found. Drinking from a water bottle helps keep the face white and also helps keep floors and faces dry. They are not necessary but can be useful and also can work well for travel. Crate: Your puppy will need a crate. This will be his safe place. It will also help you in training your puppy. You may decide you would like to have a larger metal crate 24L x 16 W x 21 H for at home and a plastic for travel which gives much more safety to your pet, 21 L x 16 W x 15 H, we prefer the Petmate Sky kennel size small. The metal crates will collapse under impact, so the sturdy plastic crates such as this one provide your pet with the best protection in the event of an accident. You may also choose to travel with a soft-sided 'Sherpa' style bag, we prefer the Snoozer Roll Around size Medium. These look a bit like a duffel bag. They are small and convenient, but do not leave your puppy alone in one, they can easily scratch their way out. These are great for around town, or for travel in an airline under your seat. X-pen: These come in plastic, metal, or fabric varieties. They can be purchased at a pet store or in the baby department. They allow your puppy to get exercise while you are away or at home but unable to have direct supervision of your puppy. They can also be used outdoors to contain your puppy to keep him safe while you are busy doing other things. They are NOT to be used as an outdoor unsupervised confinement for your puppy. Havanese are house dogs and must live in the house with you!! The metal and plastic are appropriate for home use while you are away from home and your dog is unsupervised. The fabric variety is perfect for travel, light weight and easy to fold and take with you, but is not designed for unsupervised use as your dog could make a hole in the mesh and get out while you are away. Comb: You will need a metal fine/medium tooth comb for grooming your puppy. The comb is the easiest way to make certain you have gotten all tangles out of his coat. This is the comb I use for stubborn tangles. The very best comb is the Chris Christensen Buttercomb, it has rounded teeth that make combing less painful for your dogs. It is quite expensive, but many love it. We have one for show days and it makes a wonderful finishing comb to smooth the coat. My favorite go-to comb for every day combing and grooming is a rotating, rounded tooth comb. It does most jobs well, the dogs don't mind it and it's not as expensive. Brush: Wooden bristle oblong Chris Christensen brush. It is good for smoothing the coat, finish brushing or daily brushing, but can also miss tangles so should not be used as the sole grooming tool. This is my favorite brush. It may be a bit expensive upfront, but it will give a lifetime of wonderful grooming that is much more comfortable for your dog. It is great for a daily once over and for serious grooming. It's the only brush I will use. Shampoo/Conditioner - We use the Chris Christensen Spectrum 10 shampoo and conditioner for shows. This is a very conditioning shampoo and conditioner and makes the coat extra soft and silky, it can be diluted down or used full strength depending on your needs. We have tried many other shampoos and conditioners and always come back to this. We use it for all our grooming needs, diluted for daily use and full strength for show days. We have never had our dogs have dry or itchy skin using Spectrum 10 and the fragrance is very mild but smells fresh and clean.
The other shampoo and conditioner we like is Pantene moisturizing or sleek. Our dogs have always done well with this also, we just dilute it 4:1 with water in a squirt bottle. The up side is it is easily available at a local store.
Ear Cleaning -
TrizUltra + Keto to be used after bath time, a few drops in each ear and rubbed in. This will help to keep the ear clean, and also help to avoid ear infections caused by water getting in the ear canal.
Nail Trimmers: trim your pups nails every time you bathe him to help keep them neat so he can walk properly
Scissors:. you will want a small pair of hair scissors to trim to pads of your dogs feet. This will help keep them from slipping and also keep dirt from collecting on the feet. Long hair on the feet can also be itchy to the dog and cause them to chew on them.
Spray bottle: Fill with 1 part conditioner and 10 parts water. Spritz on the coat whenever you are going to comb or brush your puppy. This will help keep the coat from breaking.
Collar/Leash: Your puppy will need a collar and leash for whenever you take him out. 1/2" width works well, pick a very soft nylon so it will tangle the coat less. A collar that measures 10" and can be adjusted smaller will fit for the life of your puppy. A 4' or 6' lead will work best. Retractable leads are not recommended. They do not encourage proper leash training nor are they especially safe for puppy or human in congested areas. Another option than a collar is to get a soft harness. This will prevent your puppy from pulling too hard and damaging his esophagus, but you will need to brush out his coat after wearing it to avoid tangles.
Food dish: Stainless steel dishes are the best as they are not porous and are cleaned easily.
Bedding: You can use towels, blankets, or buy bedding designed for dog crates. Havanese also like to curl up in a soft doughnut bed.
Potty pads: Your puppy will be trained to use puppy potty pads. They can either continue using these in a designated area of your home or you can transition them to outdoor pottying. We buy ours at Sams Club. You can use the pet potty pads and a 24x24 rabbit tray to place it in or you can use the adult incontinence pads and a 30x36 rabbit tray to put it in. The rabbit tray is available at Tractor Supply. When you place the pad in the tray, it makes a tiny step over for the puppy to enter the potty area and creates fewer accidents because the puppy is aware that they are fully in the potty box. With a pad only they tend to get the front feet on and miss the back feet. It also protects your floor from any leakage and damage.
Toys: Stuffed toys and chew toys/bones. Make certain to give your puppy plenty that is acceptable for him to play and chew on. This will help keep your new puppy out of mischief. Ours like the blue nubby nylabone or flexible nylabone. Make certain not to purchase toys made in China due to the possible contamination with lead.
Toys your dogs may like: Blue nubby nylabone or flexible nylabone, elk antlers (great for puppy chewing and helping puppy teeth fall out properly), large beef thigh bones, stuffed animals, unstuffed animals, balls of different shapes and that make noises, squeeky toys, rope bone, made in the USA human grade hard plastic bowl (this is one of our dogs favorite chew toys).
Puppy-proof: Make certain to puppy proof your home BEFORE your puppy comes home. Remove electrical cords, hazardous plants, cleaning supplies, plastic bags, potpourri, grapes/raisins, chocolate, coffee grounds and xylitol (found in sugar-free candy, power bars, and gum; causes life threatening low blood sugar from a single stick).
Dog food is always a struggle for puppy owners. We also stress about assuring to give our dogs the very best nutrition possible. With pregnant moms and growing puppies there are even more concerns. We prefer a food that is ALL LIFE STAGES, and only recommend ALS dog foods so you will not have to change your dogs food just because they turned a certain age. Having the correct protein/fat/calcium/phosphorus ratios is also important for growth and development. Our dogs generally do better on lower protein and fat foods, we try to keep about 26% protein and 16% fat. Our dogs are eating Pro Plan All Life Stages Small Bites Lamb and Rice.
Important to know about AAFCO feeding trials:
All Life Stages feeding trails are for a whole year or longer. They must nourish multiple pregnant females, multiple litters, and then the puppies growing up. If even ONE fails, the trial then the food fails. This is the reason why it is so important that a food not only be made to meet the AFFCO recommendations of nutrition, but also undergo FEEDING TRIALS that substantiate that the food is PROVEN to provide complete and balanced nutrition. This is also why I prefer an All Life Stages food, as it provides complete and balanced nutrition for at minimum an entire year of testing. Specific adult or puppy based foods are completed over a minimum of 26 weeks, which isn't bad, but over an entire year, including pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, weaning, puppy growth and development is a whole lot more inclusive in proving it is a wholesome food.
I have spent many years feeding boutique foods and I have my own stories to tell about how this food did not provide MY dogs with complete and balanced nutrition, causing an assortment of issues. However, every time I have fed Pro Plan ALS food, which is also proven through feeding trials, my dogs have done amazingly well. Why did I continue changing? Simple, marketing kept making me think I was not feeding my dogs the best. Thus, I have sacrificed my dogs due to marketing. No more. The proof is in the results. My nearly 16yo has been on Pro Plan Sensitive Skin Salmon for almost her entire life due to some sensitive skin issues. She has been in perfect health. The others I would change around due to no sensitivities, and they have suffered. I will not do this to my dogs again. They will eat Pro Plan with pride, as I know the results, I trust the scientific feeding trials, and I have seen how well my dogs have done on this food. Yes, there will be those who say otherwise, but I will no longer be fooled by creative marketing and fancy words to make me think I am feeding a better food because it is sold by a smaller company, has unique ingredients, is marketed as holistic or otherwise. I will trust science, research, and a company that spends time and money to research dog health and the food they sell. My dogs are worth it.
Important information to know about dog foods:
1. The FDA has issued a warning about grain free foods and foods made by boutique companies who do not have staff veterinary nutritionist, as many dog foods on the market today do not provide a complete and balanced diet. This is causing many dogs to develop Dilated Cardio Myopathy (DCM), enlargement of the heart which can lead to heart failure and death. This is due to a taurine interruption in the balance of the diet. The exact details are still being investigated and studied by UC Davis. High levels of peas, legumes/bean is one implication, unbalanced food is another even for non-grain-free foods. You can check out the facebook group Taurine-Deficient Dilated Cardiomyopathy for more information. Or you can check out the associated website for TD- DCM, which has all the information from Dr. Stern without all the conversations, just the facts.
2. At this time we do NOT recommend any grain free diet or foods with peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans or other legumes such as alfalfa, soy etc, or potatoes or sweet potatoes in the first 5 ingredients. We do not recommend any food that has not undergone AAFCO feeding trials. (Formulated to meet AAFCO standards is NOT the same thing.)
3. Just because it has good marketing and sounds good to humans, does not mean it is well balanced for the health of our dogs.
4. Much of what we have been 'marketed' about being healthy has not been proven in scientific studies, it is just made to make us think we are feeding healthier food and paying more money for our dog food. Price of the food does not equal quality necessarily. Basically, everything we 'think' we know due to creative and convincing marketing must be re-learned according to scientific data to truly know what our dogs are going to be healthy eating.
5. Until more investigation is done, we are recommending our puppy owners feed Pro Plan. As of this date, these are the foods that appear to be testing with good results in feeding trials with real dogs, not just labeling on a package. I will update as more research and information becomes available. Yes, I am actually saying this! While the marketing and 'table talk' in recent years has been trashing these companies as 'crap' food, the truth is, they have many years and much money and research into their foods and they are so large that if thousands of dogs were dying we would know about it. The boutique foods are small in numbers of dogs eating them so it's not as noticeable until more recently when cardiologist started putting information together and seeing many of the dogs with DCM were eating these foods. Very few, if any of these smaller companies have full time veterinary nutritionist on staff or do feeding trials on their foods. They have very little, if any, research on their foods and this is proving to be detrimental to the dogs eating them. They also do not participate in peer reviewed research. Sadly DCM heart conditions lie quietly until a catastrophic event, when it is often too late to help.
According to the tentative information currently known and proven through blood level testing for taurine and Echocardiograms on real dogs, there are many boutique/expensive and well thought of brands that are sadly testing very poorly on real dogs. While the ingredients 'look' great, the dogs are developing DCM on this food. So very sad when every pet parent is only looking to find a healthy food for their dogs.
6. After 16 years of heavily studying dog foods, what I know is that I don't know much. I know that marketing is grand and they can fool the average and above average consumer into thinking they are eating a high quality product when in truth they are eating a highly marketed product without research behind the food to prove it is actually healthy for the dog.
7. It has long been my opinion, but it is now further verified, that Dog Food Advisor, which many people look to when 'rating' foods, is not scientifically based and simply looks at ingredients. These ingredients do not however tell us the formula or the nutritional balance of such food. Since dogs are not humans and since the general public does not know what a dog needs to maintain health, I do not personally advise using DFA as your source of accurate and scientific information.
*****If you are one of our puppy buyers, please feel free to contact me about more information regarding this issue and for suggestions on feeding your personal dog.
At this time we are going to give Pro Plan Small Bites Lamb and Rice a trial run with our dogs. Another option we are considering is going back to Pro Plan Turkey and Barley, which we fed our dogs for many years with good success. We also want to be assured the company making our dogs food has invested time and money into research, feeding trials, etc. to assure the food is balanced for healthy dogs. Our original Havanese Molly has lived on Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach for almost 16 years with very good health. She was started on this due to having very sensitive skin and she has done excellent on this, so we do trust Pro Plan for life long health in our dogs.
Currently we are recommending: Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon, Pro Plan Sport Turkey and Barley, or Pro Plan Small Bites Lamb and Rice also options are Pro Plan 26/16 Chicken and Rice (has a bigger kibble) or Pro Plan Chicken and Rice Puppy (which is an all life stages food). We feel the 30/20 formulas have too much protein and fat in them for the Havanese and do not recommend this formula.
We will keep you updated when new scientific information becomes available about the DCM issue.
If your dogs has been on a food long term that is suspect in DCM, it is recommended you get your dog to see a veterinary cardiologist for an ECHO of it's heart. There is also a taurine blood test, however, toy breeds appear to be susceptible to nutritional DCM even if the blood taurine is considered normal, but they are also being treated with a change of diet, taurine supplement and other heart meds and finding good results to return to normal heart function as long as the damage is not too severe.
Why foods formulated to meet AAFCO recommendations and adding Taurine is not enough:
Dogs rely on other amino acids, and on a balance of those amino acids, to make their own taurine which is then usable by the dog. So an unbalanced raw or kibble diet, even though it has plenty of taurine, can still leave the dog deficient in the amino acids it actually needs to be healthy. What is required is not just that a dog food contain certain ingredients, but rather that the food is balanced so the dog can utilize the ingredients and process them in order to sustain health. It is suspected, and research is ongoing, that amino acids and taurine are being blacked and unusable by dogs due to other ingredients or imbalances in the dog food created by these small, non-researched, boutique dog food brands. While the food 'looks' nutritious on the ingredients list and is marketed as being healthy, the real life results are that the food is not being absorbed and utilized correctly by the dog and nutrition induced DCM is one of the results. Sadly, DCM is generally symptom free until a catastrophic event, which is often too late to save the dog. This condition is affecting dogs of all ages, and thus, makes the issue even more concerning.
If a dog food company states they are adding taurine to their formula in response to the FDA warning, that is actually a mark AGAINST the company, as it is obvious that the company dogs not understand the complexity of the problem. The foods were not low in taurine in the first place when tested it is the DOGS that are not processing the taurine and other amino acids in the formula, thus, something is unbalanced in the formula.
Thus far all formulas that have undergone feeding trials have not been implicated in the DCM crisis. This includes foods by Pro Plan, Hills and Royal Canin.
If the food has not undergone FEEDING TRIALS do not feed that food. Insist your dog get the best, a food which has been proven by feeding trails to be balanced and nutritious. Pro Plan is our personal choice.
IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED TO SUPPLEMENT TAURINE UNLESS UNDER A VETERINARIANS SUPERVISION.
Here are some articles you can read regarding this issue.
Nutritional DCM fact website hosted by a Veterinarians and other professionals who are coordinating information from Dr. Stern, the Cardiologist who is studying this issue. This website is designed to provide the facts about the issue. It also will be featuring some real testimonies about dogs that have suffered this terrible and preventable heart disease.
This is THE MOST IMPORTANT article to read on the subject of dietary DCM. It is written by a veterinary nutritionist at TUFTS. Her primary research is in the nutritional aspects of canine heart disease. She is arguably THE world expert on the subject. If you only read one thing, read this. If any other information from any food company makes a statement, refer back to this. She is the expert, trust the expert.
Debunking the Myths around Corn Gluten Meal You may find this very interesting. I have avoided corn in food for years and believed many other false things about dog food based on clever marketing. Now I am getting my information from veterinary specialist only and re-training my thinking about many things, including corn. As it turns out, few dogs are actually allergic to corn, and corn gluten meal contains the amino acids necessary for dogs to create their own taurine. Who knew?
Flea and Tick: I do not use any chemicals on my dogs. We treat our yard with Diatomaceous Earth (feed grade) and that takes care of these pests.
While I never use chemicals on my dogs, those with the least reactions appear to be Frontline and Revolution. Always talk with your vet and watch your pet carefully and discontinue at the first sign of a reaction.